Las Vegas Sun

July 20, 2019

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Porn star ‘Kid Vegas’ flees the scene in Beatty

Warning: The following article contains material that may be unsuitable for children.

It also contains a porn star turned fugitive, a Canadian jail, a tiny Nevada town and a homecoming gone bad.

First, meet Scott Austin, 32, perhaps better known as Kid Vegas -- star of "Kid Vegas: Whoremaster" and similar X-rated titles. The inspiration for his nom de porn was an innocently named children's store at the Rio.

Austin is now facing multiple sexual assault and other charges in Nye County. He has fled to Canada, where he is being jailed.

Prosecutors say Austin rolled into Beatty one day a year ago and set about corrupting the local youth, throwing an alcohol-fueled party for a group of local teenagers and subjecting two girls, one of them a minor, to unwanted advances.

Austin says he's guilty only of being in the adult-film industry, but because of his occupation, he can't get a fair trial among the "rednecks" of Nye County. That, he says, is why he's on the run.

In July, Austin flew to Toronto and was arrested by Canadian immigration authorities on the outstanding warrant from Nevada. After months of unsuccessful attempts to claim refugee status, he is scheduled for a hearing today that could result in his deportation back to Nevada.

Canada offers asylum to individuals who may face cruel and unusual punishment or torture in their home countries. Austin applied, but was not found to meet the requirements, said Patrizia Giolti, a Canada Border Services Agency spokeswoman.

But Austin says he does need protection from the Nye County authorities.

"I came here seeking protection from Canada because I didn't do anything," Austin said in a telephone interview from the Niagara Detention Centre. "Those rednecks are trying to hang me because they don't like what I do for a living."

The charges stem from a party that Austin threw at the Beatty home of his then-girlfriend, a 19-year-old who had appeared with him in an X-rated feature. The two had traveled to the girl's hometown for its centennial celebration and the high school's homecoming.

A 16-year-old girl who attended the party claimed Austin followed her into the bathroom, locked the door and pressed himself against her while fondling her against her will, according to court transcripts from Austin's preliminary hearing.

Austin also allegedly sexually assaulted his girlfriend when he touched her intimately while the two were naked in bed after the party, even though she told him she wasn't in the mood for sex. After three refusals, the woman acknowledged, Austin rolled over and went to sleep.

Nye County District Attorney Bob Beckett said Austin's accusations of bias are ludicrous.

"We prosecute these cases by the numbers," he said. "He's going to receive a fair trial from an impartial jury. We answer to the Supreme Court."

Austin's former attorney, James Buchanan of Las Vegas, says Kid Vegas was silly to run and should have taken a plea bargain instead. "I didn't think the case was that strong, but it was serious," he said.

"I had gotten him a very favorable negotiation," from six felonies down to two gross misdemeanors, Buchanan said. "If he took the deal, he probably would have gotten probation. But people don't always do what I tell them."

Austin's mother and chief defender Kathleen Vigil, a hairdresser who lives in central California, says her son is being "persecuted, not prosecuted."

She points to the many connections between people involved in the case as evidence that Austin would not get an unbiased hearing in Beatty, which has a population of 981.

"Everybody knows everybody," Vigil said. "Scott doesn't have a chance of getting a fair trial there."

Two judges withdrew from the case because they knew or were related to alleged victims in the case. Two public defenders also begged off representing Austin because they were acquainted with his girlfriend's family.

In addition to the town's insularity, Beatty's conservatism stacked the deck against him, Austin said.

"It's a little town entrenched in Christian fundamentalist values," Austin said. "They look at me and think, 'He put one of our daughters in a porno.' "

William Margold, a veteran adult-film producer, director and star, says he doesn't know about the merits of Austin's case, but it's true that the stigma faced by porn workers is severe.

"Anybody associated with the adult industry is automatically tainted with the letter X," he said. "We're sociologically damned by a nation of hypocrites."

The character of Kid Vegas was a porn star for the younger generation -- a tattooed skate-punk with an in-your-face personality. With his bleach-blond hair and outrageous antics, Austin was the Eminem of porn.

Austin's heyday as a porn performer came about five years ago, when his films for Legend Video won the Adult Video Nudes award -- the Best Picture Oscar of blue movies -- two years in a row. "Kid Vegas: Whoremaster" won in 2000, followed by "Kid Vegas: Trenchcoat Pornographer" in 2001.

To some, however, his "extreme" persona was a laughingstock: Another Kid Vegas feature won an X-Rated Critics Organization award for Worst Movie of the Year in 2000.

By last year, Austin said, he had moved into more of what might be called a recruiter role: trolling Las Vegas for pretty girls, then convincing them to appear on a pornographic Web site.

Austin was making a lot of money. He had a new Las Vegas condo and a 19-year-old co-star for a girlfriend.

Life was good.

Now, he says, he has lost everything -- "my car, my apartment, my concealed-weapons permit."

Buchanan, who parted ways with Austin when he turned down the plea bargain, said there is no doubt rural Nevada juries are tougher than those in Las Vegas.

"Up there you have rock miners, cowboys and ranchers -- they're tremendously conservative, much more severe than Clark County," he said.

But the prosecutor's reasonable offer of reduced charges showed that there was no bias against Austin, Buchanan said.

"I don't think the way he was dealt with was spiteful," he said. "He got a fair hearing in Beatty."

Molly Ball can be reached at 259-8814 or at [email protected]

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